by Robert Ferringo - 10/28/2005
You know, it felt like about 12 years between the Super Bowl and Week 1 of this season. Now it's felt like about 12 minutes from Week 1 to Week 8.
Jacksonville (-2.5) at St. Louis
There was no line on this game early in the week due to the status of Fred Taylor for the Jaguars and Torry Holt for St. Louis. Taylor was listed as questionable with a high ankle sprain, and Holt is doubtful because of a sprained knee.
Jacksonville is coming off a bye, and have been a coverlicious 4-0 ATS on the road this year. They are also 7-4 SU away from home over the last two years. The Word is that Taylor is good to go. Even if he isn't, the Jags topped a tough Pittsburgh squad (in Pitt) with Greg Jones at running back. The Jaguars defense is yielding just 17 points per game, and the front four should be able to get plenty of pressure on Jamie Martin.
The Rams' comeback from a 14-point deficit last week would be more impressive if A) it hadn't happened against the Saints, and B) it hadn't come one week after blowing a 17-point cushion against the Colts. This is a bad football team my friends, and I only wager against them. The silver lining for STL fans: the Rams are 41-10 at home since 1999, and home dogs are usually a decent value play.
Chicago at Detroit (-3)
What we have here is a great example of the conflict that arises between betting with the numbers, and betting with your instincts.
My instincts tell me that Chicago is the better team here. Their defense is one of the best -- if not the best -- in the NFL. They've won two in a row and crushed the Lions 38-6 a month ago. Detroit is shaky at best, and will be without three of its best players in Dre' Bly, Shaun Rogers and, likely, Roy Williams.
But then there's the numbers. The Lions have won three of the last four against the Bears, including three in a row at home. Detroit is 6-2-2 ATS in its last 10 home interdivisional games, and Steve Mariucci is 7-0 ATS in revenge games in the same season. Also, Chicago is 2-5-2 ATS in its last nine away divisional games.
Buffalo at New England (-9), 8:30 p.m. Sunday night
New England is 7-2 ATS its in last nine against the Bills. The Pats are 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS in the last seven at home against the division. And they're coming off of a bye. Bad news for Buffalo.
New England is still banged up, and their defense has been soft. Nine points is awfuly high in a division game, even if the Patriots are 25-4 at home since 2002 and 20-6 in the division since 2001. Then again, maybe not.
All I know about Buffalo is they came rolling into New England on a Sunday night last November and I expected them to make a big statement. The result was a 29-6 mauling. This year they enter with no momentum, in a game they should lose by double-digits. But hey, it's a wild league and stranger things have happened.
Washington at New York (-2)
Which stat do I trust more: the Giants are 20-5-1 ATS as home favorites of less than three points off a SU win (Giants cover), or the dog in this match up is 6-1 ATS recently and the home team is 3-6-1 (Redskins cover)?
Much like Denver, and Dallas, I think the Giants have 14 home games this season. I swear it feels like they play at home ever week. The New York offense has been outstanding, averaging a league-high 29 points per outing. However, they'll face a defense that yields a mere 14 first downs per game. The key here will be if the Giants sieve defense can force enough turnovers to slow down Washington.
Washington's season changed when Lance Briggs clotheslined Patrick Ramsey in Week 1. Since then, Mark Brunell has been running the show and the offense has been unstoppable. Along with Seattle, Washington has the only other offense in the top ten overall, rushing and passing in the league. They've won two of the last three in this series, including a 24-point blowout last December.
Without further ado, here are my NFL Week 8 Power Rankings:
1) Indianapolis (7-0) - Even if they roll into Foxboro and dismantle New England, what does that change? The easy part of the schedule is over. The Colts have the Pats, Bengals, Steelers, Jags, Chargers and Seahawks remaining.
2) Jacksonville (4-2) - If they're as good as I think they are they should handle a soft St. Louis team.
3) Pittsburgh (4-2) - Pittsburgh is 13-4 ATS in its last 17 home games against Baltimore, and has won 10 home MNF games in a row.
4) Atlanta (5-2) - OK, I was wrong to say that this was an eight-win team. However, I'm still not wrong about how terrible Vick is as a passer.
5) Denver (5-2) - Mike Shanahan is 17-4 at home against the NFC, but Andy Reid is 33-18 on the road, including 8-5 vs. the AFC.
6) Philadelphia (4-2) - Some fluke has played a role in each of their three wins over the AFC West. This weekend it's going to be Jose Cortez connecting on a 63-yard field goal at the end of regulation.
7) Cincinnati (5-2) - Hangover game? I doubt it. The Bengals have won six in a row against the NFC, and should fill up the Packers defense.
8) Tampa Bay (5-1) - There will be a Ken Dorsey sighting this Sunday (he's starting) and the Bucs defense is licking its chops. However, the Bucs are 3-7 ATS, 0-6 ATS as road favorites, and 0-3 ATS in the last three years against NFC West foes.
9) Washington (4-2) - The Redskins are 0-6 O/U in their last six NFC East road games.
10) Seattle (5-2) - This team could be 7-0 (two losses by a total of nine points) but I still don't trust them in a big game in December or January.
11) Carolina (4-2) - They've won their last three games by four points or less. They're also 4-13 ATS as home favorites, and 1-6 ATS when giving over 7 points.
12) New England (3-3) - Sure enough, even after two weeks of evaluation, Belichick has 10 guys listed on the injury report. Dick.
13) Kansas City (4-2) - They've lost the last two against the Chargers, but Trent Green is 6-3 as a starter against San Diego.
14) Dallas (4-3) - The Cowboys are 8-2 ATS when hosting an NFC West team, and are trying to bounce back from that brutal loss last week. However, Arizona's defense and receivers pose a tough match up.
15) New York Giants (4-2) - Linebacker Barrett Green was placed on IR this week, further weakening an already thin defense.
16) Chicago (3-3) - The Bears are second in the league in offensive red zone TD conversion (69 percent) and first in the NFL in defensive red zone TD conversion (7.7 percent).
17) San Diego (3-4) - Five members of their defense are questionable, and three-fifths of the offensive line is banged up. Not a good sign since they're facing a team with extra rest. However, the home team in this series is 10-3-1 recently.
18) Buffalo (3-4) - Think they miss TKO Spikes in the middle of that defense?
19) Baltimore (2-4) - The Ravens are just 2-5 against the Steelers recently. The old, pre-incarceration Jamal Lewis averaged 116 yards in Baltimore's last seven primetime games.
20) Detroit (3-3) - With Jason Hanson against rookie Robbie Gould, the Lions have a big edge in the kicking game this week. That could be the difference in a close game.
21) Miami (2-4) - The Dolphins are 1-10 in their last 11 games on the road, and a weak 1-5-1 ATS this season.
22) Oakland (2-4) - They hosted the Titans last year and 75 points were scored (Raiders won 40-35). Oakland is 0-5 ATS in its last five trips to Tennessee.
23) Cleveland (2-4) - The Browns are 1-5 against the Over this season.
24) New York Jets (2-5) - Vinny should have re-retired after leading the Jets to that home win over Tampa Bay. It's been all downhill since.
25) Arizona (2-4) - In his last 16 starts, Josh McCown is 8-8. When adjusted for the fact that he plays for the Cardinals, those are Tom Brady numbers. The Cardinals are 1-22 SU and 5-18 ATS in their last 23 road games.
26) Tennessee (2-5) - The Titans are 7-18 ATS in their last 25 games.
27) St. Louis (3-4) - Martin threw 50 passes last weekend. 50! Maybe Martz is calling plays from his bedside.
28) New Orleans (2-5) - Stay away - stay far, far away from betting this team. I'm warning you.
29) Minnesota (2-4) - Not that you needed reminding, but the Vikings are 2-23 in their last 25 road games.
30) Green Bay (1-5) - Cincy has a +16 turnover differential. Since Favre will have to throw the ball about 60 times, I see that number going up.
31) San Francisco (1-5) - If Ken Dorsey lights it up for 350 against Tampa Bay, does that mean there's a quarterback controversy by the Bay?!?
32) Houston (0-5) - They have the Due Factor working for them this weekend, at home, against Cleveland. Too bad that's all they have going for them.
Questions or comments for Robert? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of Doc's football picks service.